Five Pitfalls to Avoid (June, 2007)

Planning a wedding can sometimes be like Charles Dickens words in A Tale of Two Cities, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” Though you’re excited that you’re going to marry your true love, there’s so much to do that it almost seems overwhelming.

PrescottWeddings.com more than understands. That’s why we looked at all the problems that can surround a wedding and came up with five basic mistakes that Brides make, creating a domino effect that only increases her stress levels. Here’s our list of what you shouldn’t do:

5. Thinking you’re going to lose a dress size or two to fit into that “perfect” gown.

Let’s face it. This is a time where family and friends are going to fete you, hosting parties and showers in your honor. You can try to diet during this time but it’s not going to be easy turning down scrumptious tidbits of food or declining a glass of champagne.

When you buy your wedding gown, make sure that it fits comfortably. If you do lose weight, it’s always a lot easier to take in the seams then to let them out.

4. Allocating a budget first and then determining the number of guests second.

So many Brides do this and it creates all sorts of headaches or hurt feelings down the road. First, combine your list with the Groom’s of the family and friends you both would like to be in attendance. Then establish your budget. 50% of that budget should be allocated to the reception costs (location, food, beverage/bar, cake, and rentals). Divide that by the number of guests for a per person cost. From there, you can make decisions whether you can afford serving shrimp as an appetizer or if that ice sculpture is really worth it.

Where mistakes are made is when Brides decide in advance that they must have shrimp appetizers and a customized ice sculpture before they put together a guest list. If they go over their cost limit, then they just cross guests off their list, regardless if it be family or friend. Just remember it’s difficult to explain why shrimp was more important to be at your wedding than Aunt Carol and Uncle Jim.

3. Not locking-in prices; not obtaining quotes on an “inclusive” basis.

Once you’ve decided on specifics (venue, menu, décor, entertainment, etc.), start locking-in prices as soon as possible. You want to take advantage of today’s prices for tomorrow’s costs. And make sure that any quote you get is “inclusive” and not “exclusive”. Inclusive means that the cost includes tax and gratuity. Exclusive means that it’s still to be added.

There’s no surer way to wreck a budget than to get a quote on an exclusive basis. Let’s say that there’s a mandated 18% gratuity within the catering contract. Add to that Arizona’s 8% sales tax and that means your food cost per person just went up another 26%! Ouch!

2. Thinking you can say or do whatever you please because you’re the Bride and it’s your day.

Yes, it is your day but that does not give any Bride the license to be rude or ill mannered. No one is given that permission, regardless of what day it is, and that includes wedding days.

It’s important to recognize that, after a wedding, you have what is commonly referred to as a marriage. That means that you’re going to keep running into the very same people that you’ve been insulting or offending, whether it be at family reunions, holidays, graduations, and the like. Simplify your future. Be as gracious and charming as possible. It will serve you well in the years ahead.

1. Not immediately writing and mailing thank you notes for engagement, shower, and wedding gifts, in addition to thanking the hostess(es).

Yes, even in this day and age, a hand-written thank you note is still expected. A prompt thank you note goes a long way, especially during these days where some Brides’ believe that gifts are their entitlement, or at the very least, the price of admission for attending their wedding festivities. Little do they know that guests are not mandated to give a gift at all, not even under the rules of etiquette.

Should you receive a gift from a family member or friend, you should immediately write a personal note expressing your delight in their thoughtfulness. You’ll win every time.